Holiday Tablescapes for Kids of all Sizes
Well, the Holidays have descended upon us and we’re in the depths of work parties, get-togethers with friends, and family Christmas gatherings. This year we opted for the pre-lit faux tree and garland which, I have to say, cut our decorating time in half. With two little ones at home, forgoing the real tree smell and ambiance was a sacrifice I was willing to make for safety and efficiency purposes. The glass balls are staying in the Rubbermaid box this year (and probably the couple Christmases after) and the more delicate ornaments are hung up high.
When it comes to entertaining, I like to keep the festive spirit alive but use kid-friendly decorations and items that aren’t so holiday specific that they can’t be used at other times of year. I’ve put together a Big Kid table for us adults and a fun table for the wee ones that keep entertaining easy but definitely maintain the festive factor.
For the “Big Kids” this year we are going holiday rustic. A centerpiece composed of various bottles and jars painted white (use white paint on the inside to keep it from peeling), red faux berries and pinecones keeps it simple and doesn’t require watering. For the place settings, pinecone place cards echo the theme and are something you can collect with the kids in the days before your gathering. Vintage red enamel dishes are durable and give a little campy flavor to your fete while gold flatware and patterned glasses add a touch of un-fussy glam. Block-printed linen napkins from Etsy contribute to the rustic feel and are appropriate at any time of year. And on top of each plate we like to give each guest a little goody wrapped in craft paper, baker’s twine and a home-made snowflake (again a great craft project for the kids). A star garland adds a touch of sparkle and could easily be re-used for the fourth of July. And don’t forget the cocktails! A rustic bar cart allows guests to serve themselves and a collection of blankets invites people to cozy up by the fire (I love this one from Pendelton – it’s such a classic and looks fabulous on a bed).
For the Wee Ones we like to keep it fun and spill-proof. Cover the table in craft paper and put out receptacles of crayons to keep those little hands occupied (I love using vintage containers or creating something fun like these bark covered tins). For the place settings, colorful melamine plates and plastic handled flatware are durable and can be used at any time (the key is keep things graphic but not commit to a specific image like a Christmas tree or train or character like Dora). Give the kids cloth napkins and see if they feel “fancy” (these are IKEA dishtowels and at 50 cents a pop are totally kid-worthy). Mason jar glasses with straws make sure cider stays off the furniture and floors. For kids’ favors, I like to use fun soft felt or knit animal ornaments that they can take home and hang on the tree. Felt balls and garland in poppy colors hung above the table add to the festive feel but are also useable for other occasions.
Hopefully I’ve inspired some of you to do a little pre-get-together decorating. By using items that can function for every day (or at least for other occasions), holiday decorating becomes much less daunting and more fun. Just remember that you are by no means tied to doing everything red and green and ridden with holly. Use a pop of yellow, hot pink or lime green to make things more modern and fun. And remember: red items can be re-purposed for Valentine’s Day, the Fourth of July, or any other gathering that requires a dose of heat.
The holidays can be so daunting but if you keep things simple and kid-friendly (and let’s be honest, adult-with-cocktail friendly too!) everyone will be impressed by how put-together you are and all you will have to worry about come party time is what to wear and where to order your food from.
Source pictures, Big Kids: French jars // Gold flatware // Star garland // Beveled glassware // Blanket // Bar cart // Snowflake craft box // Red enamel plates // Printed napkin // Pinecone place card holders
Graphics by Cori Magee